Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Skinningrove, ClevelandRedcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Room to Grow is a transformative project for the East Cleveland communities of Loftus and Skinningrove; neighbourhoods that have experienced high levels of deprivation, unemployment and poor health as the area has faced huge challenges with the loss of its mining, iron and steel industries. Land of Iron is the only museum in the world dedicated to the ironstone mining industry on the site of Loftus Mine; the first to be opened in the region and one of the last to close. Its extensive collection of mining artefacts and unique documents celebrates the internationally important Cleveland ironstone mining story. Many local residents, volunteers and visitors have family connections to the mine and the museum benefits from strong community support and pride in their heritage.

Following four years of closure for development, the Museum has reopened as the Land of Iron, a new experiential destination highlight for East Cleveland, which weaves the history and heritage of ironstone mining and the mining communities into its distinctive landscape context, from hillside to sea. It consolidates RCBC’s investment and regeneration programme in Loftus town centre and underpins the museum’s significance as a community asset and a heritage tourism driver.

The five key objectives of the main development project were to:
1. Improve the long-term financial sustainability of the museum
2. Improve care, storage and access for the nationally significant collection
3. Improve the visitor offer and increase visitor numbers and engagement
4. Create cultural facilities; attracting a wider audience
5. Increase the viability of the East Cleveland region as a tourist destination

The project was challenging due to the complex site issues, including mitigating a mine collapse close to the site, the need to manage asbestos and concrete works in the ground which affected costs, foundation and structure design. We went through 5 revised designs to fit the budget, structure requirements and accommodation. All of this made the risk of peril to the project very high. Fortunately, BBA were backed by NLHF and RCBC who encouraged the team to find the affordable solution that delivered the accommodation required by the client.

It’s a fantastic project which will not only bring about new facilities but an upgrade of the existing Museum.

3D images are of the early sketch designs

The Museum’s website showed weekly updates on the project.

and you can follow it on Twitter @LandOfIron

We are pleased to say that the project won the Value category at this years Constructing Excellence Yorkshire and Humber Awards. We couldn’t be more pleased as the award recognises the endeavours of the Museum and the people and community it contributes to.
Winning our category means that we are now put forward to the National Con Ex Awards in London in November, so here’s hoping for a national recognition of the museum.